Friday, March 21, 2008

My Addiction: Endorphins

During most of the year (but definitely during tri training season) my training schedule calls for just one complete rest day per week. The thought of this rest day helps me get through the toughest workouts of the week...knowing that a complete day off, where I'll get to sleep in until heavenly 6am, is just around the corner. So far this year my coach has agreed to move my rest day to Thursday (Monday is a typical tri athlete's rest day because most high-volume sessions happen on the weekend) and I love looking forward to that little bit of extra sleep near the end of the work week. Mentally, it helps me wake up at 4:30am Monday through Wednesday. However, when each Thursday rest day rolls around it never fails to disappoint. I set my alarm for 6am, then usually wake up at 4:30am anyway (darn body clock!). I force myself back to sleep and then once I get up for the day, I feel sluggish and achy. Mentally, I'm foggy all day. After having this happen to me again yesterday, I decided to try and analyze the issue. My conclusion? I'm addicted to endorphins.

I looove how I feel, both mentally and physically, after a hard workout. I especially get a rush after my hard morning workouts, when I nail my pace on 1000M repeats or improve my swim pace on long swim intervals, before ever stepping foot in the office. There is no better feeling of accomplishment. Even when I have to get up at 4:30am to train, I always feel better than if I don't train at all. I guess it's the way my body is now conditioned.

Now, this doesn't mean I'm going to start skipping my rest days in favor of another hard session (I think I'm making Coach BP sweat a little). I know that rest days serve an important purpose in the tri training regimen. And even if I don't feel great on my rest day, I know it allows me to come back stronger the next day. But I think I need to consider what else I can do the morning of my rest days to help me feel a little more in the groove. Perhaps a little flexibility-focused yoga? Or maybe just getting up when I wake up instead of forcing myself back to sleep? Looking for ideas that don't drive me to caffeine, which is what I usually want!

In the meantime, I'm really looking forward to a hard bike session tomorrow (lots of upper Zone 4 intervals) and the always-guaranteed-to-make-you-want-to-throwup 1000M repeats on Sunday! The endorphins from these sessions should make for a really happy holiday on Sunday. Happy Easter to all!

- Her

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